May News and Views: Heartworm Prevention Month

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Monthly Treats that Keep Me and My Friends Safe!!!

Happy May everyone!

The weather has been pretty gloomy this year in the ‘big’, OC, but I know it will get warm soon. I hope everyone is planning a fun Memorial Day picnic with friends and family. I know everyone in my house is getting ready for it!
I wanted to remind everyone that NOT only is this flea and tick season but heartworm season too.

If you read my newsletter last month, you know that there are very cool ways to protect us dogs and cats against fleas and other ‘bugs’. This month I want to be sure you know about heartworms. Most of you know that bugs are bad but I wanted to make sure you know about the flying ones that bite us in the summer, they are the ‘worst’!

Though California is not nearly as bad as the southern parts of the US, each year the infected mosquito population grows. We know that coyotes are ‘scary, bad’ for us dogs and cats left alone outside, but they are also carriers of heartworm.

Mosquitos that bite coyotes, bite us dogs and cats too, and infect us.
So…how can we be protected? It’s as simple as feeding me and my friends a monthly treat-or applying a topical on our skin under our coats.

Who doesn’t love treats? All my ‘bros’ and ‘sisters’ love their monthly treats from Dad. My feline buddies get Revolution applied to their skin between the shoulder blades each month. Mom makes it a special treat for my feline buddies by brushing them before she applies the product.

Prevention against these especially bad bugs is a really good value! For a year supply of canine revolution that protects against many bad bugs-fleas, ticks, heartworm, internal parasites and ear mites the total monthly cost is about $22.00. For felines the monthly cost to protect against heartworm, fleas, and ticks, internal parasites and ear mites the cost is about $23.00. When you think about all the bugs that the products protect against the cost is not too bad for our humans!

At IVS we recommend Heartgard, Revolution, or Trifexis. (Click here to view our product recommendations from our April newsletter).

Treatment for heartworm infestation can be very expensive. For severe infections complications from treatment is higher and chances of death as a result are higher too. (Visit the heartworm society website for details)

So why am I looking happy in this picture? My Mom is giving me my monthly heartworm prevention treat! Tastes good! Makes me happy when I know that I do not have to worry about mosquitoes making me sick!

Love and kisses from me Lizzie-

What is Heartworm Disease?


Heartworm disease is a serious disease that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death in pets, mainly dogs, cats, and ferrets. It is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. The worms are spread through the bite of a mosquito. The dog is the definitive host, meaning that the worms mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring while living inside a dog. The mosquito is the intermediate host, meaning that the worms live inside a mosquito for a short transition period in order to become infective (able to cause heartworm disease). The worms are called “heartworms” because the adults live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of an infected animal.

What are the Symptoms of Heartworm?

Because the heartworm parasite goes through various life stages before reaching full maturity, early detection is very difficult. These parasites can live in their hosts for years before symptoms appear and can reach lengths of up to 12 inches.

Dogs: While recently infected dogs may not show any signs or symptoms. The typical early signs of heartworm infestation are tiring easily, exercise intolerance, and a soft, deep cough. As the disease progresses these symptoms become more severe and the dog loses weight, breathes more rapidly, and may cough after exercise to the point of fainting.

Cats: Cats can also get heartworms after being bitten by an infected mosquito, although they are not as susceptible to infection as dogs. A cat is considered a resistant host of heartworms because the worms do not thrive as well inside a cat’s body. Both indoor and outdoor cats are at risk for heartworm disease.

Symptoms of heartworm in cats are very difficult to read and often appear strikingly similar to feline asthma or bronchitis. These symptoms include: gagging, strained breathing, vomiting, fainting spells, back-leg paralysis, inactivity and weight loss and are associated with a syndrome called Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).

For more information on heartworm, visit .

I Live in California; Do I Really Need to Protect My Pet from Heartworm?

The answer is 100% yes. Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.
Heartworm disease has not only spread throughout the United States, but it’s also now found in areas where veterinarians used to say “Oh, we don’t have heartworm disease.” Areas like Oregon, California, Arizona, and desert areas — where irrigation and building are allowing mosquitoes to survive. And if you have mosquitoes and you have animals, the likelihood of heartworm increases.

Reducing possible mosquito breeding sites around your home can help prevent heartworm.

  • Keep gutters clean and free of debris.
  • Check for standing water in objects such as watering cans, trash can lids, and outdoor pet bowls.
  • Change birdbath water frequently.
  • Enhance yard drainage if you have trouble with standing water.
  • Stock ornamental ponds with larvae-eating fish or use floating “dunks” specially designed for ponds and pools.

Risks and Prevention of Heartworm Disease by Dr. Audrey Hoholm

Save the Day – 7th Annual OC Super Adoption Event, June 2nd

web_superpet2013_headerPlease join us at our booth Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 for the 7th Annual Orange County Super Adoption event, as we partner with the Irvine Animal Care Center in placing adorable pets awaiting adoption. IVS will be hosting low-cost microchips and ‘Ask the Vet’.


“Come visit me and my friend Payton at IVS-Northpark every Sunday. One free vaccine and complimentary nail trim with every exam every Sunday at our Northpark location only. Hope to see you soon!”- Dr. Audrey Hoholm

IVS Foster Dogs, Looking for their Forever Homes

Please visit the Irvine Animal Care Center to view dogs, cats, rabbits & pocket animals awaiting their forever homes.

Thank you.

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